Archive for November 2020

Pizza My Mind Presented by CNU Five Year Master’s Program

On October 22, the Physics Computer Science and Engineering department here at Christopher Newport University was joined by representatives from Virginia Tech to talk about graduate opportunities available to CNU students. Dr. Peter Monaghan, Graduate Program Director and Associate Professor, informed students about the 5 year graduate program in applied physics and computer science the PCSE department here at CNU offers. Students can focus in one of three concentrations: applied physics, computer science, or computer systems engineering and instrumentation. CNU offers research opportunities in artificial Intelligence, gravitational waves, nuclear physics, astrophysics, robotics, sensor networking, advanced computing, virtual reality, cybersecurity, and multi-agent systems. With nearby research facilities and groups like Jefferson Lab, NASA Langley, the National Institute of Aeronautics, and the LIGO research group, there are extraordinary research opportunities available at CNU. 

Benefits of attending graduate school include having the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member on independent research, applying the knowledge learned in undergraduate, having fun, and higher pay. Applying for the graduate program at CNU gives students access to an elevated senior status. They are granted permission to take 500 level courses and get invited to graduate student events. There is no application fee, and the application is not binding. Applications are submitted through CNU live, and require a 3.0 GPA. There is no reason not to apply!

Graduate students Nicole Suscello and Eric Miers shared about their experiences so far in the graduate program. Nicole is working on her thesis in password security with Professor Christopher Kreider. She has found that her skills in technical writing and researching have improved through the program, and she is using this opportunity to practice skills gained in undergraduate before going on to her career. Eric is working on his thesis researching UAV authentication methodology with Dr. Jonathan Backens. He did not originally plan on going on to get his master, but found thesis research to be attractive. Not only does he get to contribute to his field in novel research, but he is working on a real world problem that will also boost his resume and make him more marketable to companies when he begins his career.

Deborah Carlier, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Engagement, joined us from Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering to talk about the new MEng in Computer Science program now available to CNU students. This program is a similar accelerated masters program to the CNU five year program. It is a collaboration between CNU and VT where CNU students can take graduate classes at CNU and then transfer the credit to their fifth (graduate) year at VT; they also have the option to take VT graduate classes in their senior undergraduate year at CNU. Upon graduation, the student would spend their fifth year at Virginia Tech. The program requirements are similar to CNU’s; There is a 3.0 GPA requirement, and students can get the fees and the GRE requirement waived. Other requirements include 3 letters of recommendation, undergraduate transcripts, resume, and a statement of goals. Sara Hooshangi, Director of MEng Program Computer Science Dept, and Vassilios Kovanis, Director of MEng Program Electrical and Computer Engineering, also joined us from Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering to talk about program specifics for the different options available. 

Applications for CNU’s five year program open November 17, and applications are due February 1, 2021. Email Dr. Monaghan ( for more information or links to virtual information sessions. 

More information on the CNU graduate program can be found here:

Thank you to Dr. Peter Monaghan, Nicole Suscello, Eric Miers, Deborah Carlier, Sara Hooshangi, Samantha Pipkin, Vassilios Kovanis, and Celenia Gallegos for joining us and sharing such valuable information.